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Carrier App Stores Strong, but Apple Leads

March 25, 2010

Despite the buzz around application stores tied to specific mobile devices such as the iPhone and the BlackBerry, carrier app stores are alive and well in the US: one-half (50%) of all mobile apps consumers accessed carrier app stores at the end of 2009, according to Nielsen's new App Playbook.

Nevertheless, the Apple App Store was the clear leader among app stores in the US, accounting for 25% share as users' primary app store in the fourth quarter of 2009.

The relatively new BlackBerry App World Store was the second-most popular app store (16%) due to BlackBerry's industry-leading installed base.

Large subscriber bases of standard feature phones drove much of the ongoing popularity of carrier app stores, which followed in the rankings: Verizon App Store, 15%; AT&T App Store, 12%; Sprint App Store, 10%; and T-Mobile App Store, 8%.

With only eight Android devices launched in 2009, the Android Market Store accounted for a small share (2%) of app store use in the fourth quarter. Since then, a large number of Android devices have launched and the popularity of the Android Market Store is expected to increase.

The Palm Application Store (1%) languished due to the relatively modest success of the new Palm Pre and Palm Pixi, combined with a comparatively low number of apps available in its store. The same is true for the Windows Marketplace (4%), which is also suffering from a low number of apps and dwindling market share of Windows Mobile devices.

Customer Satisfaction with Apps Stores

The Apple App Store (84%) and the Android Market Place (81%) have sizable leads in customer satisfaction compared with other application stores:

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